A suit brought by AT&T that claims Edwardsville construction companies severed its underground utilities while working on a local school will be heard by a Madison County jury next week.

The trial will begin at 9 a.m. before Madison County Circuit Judge Dennis Ruth.

AT&T filed suit three years ago against Thiems Construction Company Inc., Thiems Excavating Inc. and Thiems Trucking Inc.

The suit claims that the Thiems companies violated the Underground Utilities Facilities Damage Prevention Act when they cut cable and other underground utilities while doing excavation and demolition work in front of Lincoln Middle School in Edwardsville.

The suit also claims that the Thiems defendants did not take reasonable care to locate the cables, did not plan their digging work to minimize the risk of damaging the utilities and did not provide the proper notice of the work they intended to do.

As a result, AT&T claims that it suffered more than $250,000 in damages.

The suit seeks damages of $257,833.27, costs of the action and other relief.

The Edwardsville-based defendants deny the claims.

Thiems offers several affirmative defenses in the case including that the plaintiff did not properly comply with the underground utilities law.

While David Cooper initially represented the defendants, James
Godfrey took over the case in December of last year.

David Hicks represents the plaintiff.

The case is Madison case number 07-L-535.

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